Retired civil servant, Raphael Donald, was officially sworn in as Grenada’s Ombudsman last week Thursday .
Donald, a former Deputy Comptroller of Customs and Clerk of Parliament, has been acting as Ombudsman for the past year.
He received his instruments of appointment from the Governor General two weeks ago.
Speaking to reporters, the newly installed Ombudsman said one of the most challenging things for him was developing a strategy to approach Government Ministries, Departments and Statutory bodies to quickly resolving complaints from members of the public.
“I was a Public Officer so I am fully aware of the complaints faced.
Basically the public service does not have a complaint solving mechanism so a complaint comes to a Secretary, a Head of Department and sometimes it is attended to, sometimes it is not attended to…sometimes that complaint is lost and the complainants feel aggrieved,” he explained.
According to Donald, as the official Ombudsman, he can now hire an additional Complaints Officer since provisions have already been made for that position in thee Budget.
“It’s going to be a joined up office, it’s going to be flexible and our structure has to change and evolve according to the demands of the public”, he said.
“There are some complaints outstanding and when the report comes out and it’s laid in Parliament, you will see some matters that would hurt your belly from things that seemingly could have been solved easily and have not been solved and we have made them known in writing,” he added.
Donald told reporters that he intends to place some emphasis on tackling a number of longstanding land issues in the country.
“…Information that is coming to us seem to indicate that people are being deprived of their lands, some Grenadians find lands that should be owned is no longer there, pieces of the lands are missing… I think it’s an explosion waiting to happen”, he said.
Donald dropped hints that some issues involving lands might have to be settled by the law courts and not the Office of the Ombudsman.
“…If an individual comes to the office with a matter of land between two persons, it’s not a matter for the office”, he said.